Reference > Quotations > W.C. Hazlitt, comp. > English Proverbs and Proverbial Phrases
W.C. Hazlitt, comp.  English Proverbs and Proverbial Phrases.  1907.
He has none  to  He loathes
He has none of his chairs at home. Lanc.
  i.e., he is wrong in his head. N. and Q., 3rd S., viii. 494.
He has not lost all who has one cast left.  3599
He has one face to God and another to the devil.  3600
He has outrun the constable.  3601
He has pissed his tallow.
  This is spoken of bucks who grow lean after rutting time, or may be applied to men.—R.
He has riches enough who needs neither borrow nor flatter.  3603
He has shot the cat.  3604
He has shut up his shop windows.  3605
He has studied at Whittington’s College.
  Confined in Newgate which, according to Maitland, was rebuilt in 1423 under the will of Sir Richard Whittington. In Newgate there is a room called Tangiers, which gives to the person confined in it the name of Tangerine.—R.
He has swallowed a spider.  3607
He has taken my horse and left me the tether. WALKER.  3608
He has the best end of the string.  3609
He has the greatest blind-side who thinks he has none.  3610
He has the Newcastle burr in his throat.  3611
He has to do with one who understands trap.  3612
He has touched him on the quick.  3613
He has two stomachs to eat and one to work.
  The Spaniards say, Al hacer temblar y al comer sudar. To quake at doing and sweat at eating.—R.
He hath a cloak for his knavery.
  The Italians say, Ha mantello d’ogni acqua. Applied to one who can adapt himself to any circumstances.—R.
He hath a colt’s tooth yet in his old head.  3616
He hath a conscience like a cheverel’s skin, that will stretch. Somerset.  3617
He hath a face of brass. WALKER.  3618
He hath a good hold of the cat that holds him by the skin. W.
He hath a good judgment that relieth not wholly on his own.  3620
He hath a good muck-hill at his door.  3621
He hath a good nose to make a poor man’s sow.
  Il servit bonne truie a pauvre homme. Fr.—R.
He hath a good office, he must needs thrive.  3623
He [the gamester] hath a spring in his elbow.  3624
He hath been in the sun to-day, his face looks roasted.  3625
He hath brought his hogs to a Banbury market. CL.
  In the later collections, “to a fair market.” I conclude that the meaning of Clarke’s version, which is probably the original and genuine one, is, that the man brought his hogs to a market where hogs were not sold.
He hath brought up a bird to pick out his own eyes. CL.
  [Greek]. Tal nutre il corvo che gli cavera poi gli occhi.—R.
He hath but one fault: he is nought. HE.  3628
He hath conquered well that hath made his enemies fly.  3629
He hath eaten a horse, and the tail hangs out of his mouth.  3630
He hath eaten the hen’s rump.
  Ha mangiato il cul della gallina. Ital. Said of a person who is full of talk.—R.
He hath enough to keep the wolf from the door.
  That is, to satisfie his hunger, latrantem stomachum.—R. 1670. Comp. To Keep, &c.
He hath escaped a scouring.  3633
He hath good cards to show for it.  3634
He hath good cellarage.  3635
He hath good skill in horse-flesh to buy a goose to ride on.  3636
He hath great need of a fool that plays the fool himself. H.  3637
He hath left his purse in his other breeches.  3638
He hath made a good progress in a business that hath thought well of it beforehand.  3639
He hath more faults than hairs, and more wealth than faults.  3640
He hath more wit in his little finger than thou in thy whole body.  3641
He hath never a cross to bless himself withal. WALKER.
  i.e., no money, which hath usually a cross on the reverse side.—R.
He hath no ink in his pen.
  A coarse adage, or figure of speech, which is intended to convey physical impotence. One of the stories in the Jest-Books turns upon it. In a legal suit for divorce the husband, holding a pen, observed: “I have no ink in my pen,” whereupon the lady returned: “That is my case.” My American correspondent writes: “Plume is French argot for penis. The filthy ‘pierreuses’ and ‘manuelles’ who prowl about the garrison-towns at night always address the passenger with an offer ‘tailler la plume d’Usien.’” Pen is in the English phrase abbreviated from Penis.
He hath no mean portion of virtue that loveth it in another.  3644
He hath no more brains than a burbolt. WALKER.  3645
He hath played a wily trick, and beguiled himself.  3646
He hath shot his fry. CL.  3647
He hath showed them a fair pair of legs.  3648
He hath some wit, but a fool hath the guidance of it.  3649
He hath sown his wild oats. CL.  3650
He hath stolen a roll out of the brewer’s basket.  3651
He hath swallowed a stake, he cannot bow.  3652
He hath the sun on his face. CL.  3653
He hath tied a knot with his tongue that he cannot untie with all his teeth.
He hath two strings to his bow. WALKER.  3655
He hath well fished, and caught a frog. HE.  3656
He hath windmills in his head. CL.  3657
He hath wisdom at will,
that brags not of his skill. W.
He helps little that helpeth not himself. B. OF M. R.  3659
He holds a looking-glass to a mole.  3660
He holds the serpent by the tail.  3661
He hopes to see a goose graze on your head. CL.
  That is, of course, to see you in your grave.
He invites future injuries who rewards past ones.  3663
He is a bench-whistler. DS.
        Hee’s a Bench-whistler. That is but an ynche.
Whistling an Hunts-vp in the Kings Bench.—DAVIES, 1611.
He is a fool that makes a wedge of his fist. H.
  Compare, A white wall, &c.
He is a fool that thinks not that another thinks. H.  3666
He is a good orator who convinces himself.  3667
He is a happy man who is warned by another man’s deeds.
  MS. of the 15th cent. quoted in Retrosp. Review, 3rd S., ii. 309. It is, in fact, little more than the Latin Felix quem faciunt aliena pericula cautum.
He is a hot shot in a mustard-pot, when both his heels stand right up.  3669
He is a lion in a good cause.  3670
He is a lord for a year and a day,
and she is a lady for ever and aye.
  This is said of the Lord Mayor of York and his spouse; the latter, it is suggested, never renounces at heart the fugitive dignity conferred on her husband for the year of his mayorality.—Higson’s MSS. Coll., No. 24.
He is a nonsuch.  3672
He is a representative of Barkshire.
  Jocularly, he is afflicted with a cough. Fuller (1662).—R.
He is a slave of the greatest slave who serveth nothing but himself.  3674
He is a Walberswick whisperer; you may hear him over to Southwold. E. Anglia.
  These two places are about a mile apart. See Forby’s Vocab., p. 430.
He is able to buy an abbey.  3676
He is above his enemies that despises their injuries.  3677
He is an ill guest that never drinks to his host.  3678
He is arrested by the bailiff of Mershland. Norfolk.
  That is, clapped on the back by an ague, which is incident to strangers at first coming into this low, fenny, and unwholesome country.—R.
He is as hot as Dick’s pepper-box.
  According to Chaffers (Hist. of Porcelain, &c., 3rd edit., 543). this saying originated with Mr. Richard Chaffers, the eminent Liverpool potter.
He is as hot as if he had a bellyful of wasps and salamanders.  3681
He is as much out of his element as an eel in a sand-bag.  3682
He is at forced put.  3683
He is at his wit’s end.  3684
He is better fed than nurtur’d.  3685
He is better with a rake than a fork.
  Most men are better with a rake than a fork: more apt to pull in and scrape up, than to give out and communicate.—R.
He is blind enough who sees not through the holes of a sieve.  3687
He is blind that eats marrow, but he is blinder that lets him.  3688
He is building a bridge over the sea.  3689
He is burnt to the socket.  3690
He is dagged.  3691
He is driving his hogs over Swarston Bridge. Derbyshire.
  This is a saying used in Derbyshire when a man snores in his sleep.—R. We say now generally, He is driving pigs to market.
He is driving turkeys to market.
  i.e., He cannot walk straight.
He is either a god or a painter, for he makes faces.
  See Mery Tales and Quicke Answeres (circa 1540), ed. 1864, p. 106.
He is erecting broken ports.  3695
He is false by nature that has a black head and a red beard.  3696
He is fool enough himself who will bray against another ass.  3697
He is free of Fumbler’s hall.
  Spoken of a man that cannot get his wife with child.—R. See Handb. of E. E. Liter., art. Fumbler’s Hall, for the title of a tract on this subject.
He is free with his horse that never had one, quoth Hendyng.
  Rel. Antiq., i. 114.
He is going into the peas-field.
  i.e., falling asleep.—R.
He is going to grass with his teeth upwards.
  i.e., He is going to be buried.—R.
He is gone up Johnson’s end. Worcestershire.
  i.e., He has sunk into poverty.
He is good as long as he’s pleased, and so is the devil.  3703
He is got in his boots.
  i.e., He is very drunk, or has been at a drinking-bout. Kennett’s Paroch. Antiq. ed. 1818, Glossary, v. Bothagium.
He is grey before he is good.  3705
He is happy can beware by others’ harms. C.
  Merely the Latin: “Fœlix quam faciunt alime pericula cautum.”
He is happy that knoweth not himself to be otherwise.  3707
He is [or was] heart of oak. WALKER.  3708
He is idle that might be better employed.  3709
He is ignoble that disgraces his brave ancestors by a vicious life.  3710
He is in [or on] a merry pin.
  It was an ancient kind of Dutch artificial drunkenness; the cup, commonly of wood, had a pin about the middle of it, and he was accounted the man who could nick the pin, by drinking even to it; whereas to go above or beneath was a forfeiture. This device was, of old, the cause of so much debauchery in England, that one of the constitutions of a Synod held at Westminster, in the year 1102, was to this effect: that priests should not go to publick drinkings, ‘nec ad pinnas bibant,’ nor drink at pins; and King Edgar made a law that none should drink below the pin.”—Blount’s Glossographia, 1681, quoted by Brady. Fuller, in the third book of his Ch. Hist., gives a somewhat similar explanation. See Hazlitt’s Faiths and Folklore, 1905, p. 492. Cowper, in John Gilpin, has:
            “——the calender, right glad to find
His friend in merry pin——.”
  And in his Ex Otio Negotium, 1656, p. 229, R. Fletcher writes:
        “Thus, then, began the merry din,
For as it was thought they were all on the pin;
    O what kissing and clipping was there!”
He is in great danger who, being sick, thinks himself well.  3712
He is in his own clothes. E. Anglia.
  “Let him do as he pleases; I fear him not.”—Forby.
He is in ill case that gives example to another. B. OF M. R.  3714
He is in the cloth market.
  i.e., in bed.—R.
He is lifeless that is faultless. HE.  3716
He is like a bell, that will answer every pull.  3717
He is like a dog on a cat.  3718
He is like a silvered pin, / fair without but foul within.  3719
He is like a Waterford merchant, up to the eyes in business.  3720
He is making clothes for fishes.  3721
He is making ropes of sand.  3722
He is my friend that grindeth at my mill.
  That shows me real kindness. The Italians say, Colui é il mio zio che vuole il bene mio.—R.
He is my friend that succoureth me, not he that pitieth me.  3724
He is never alone that is in the company of noble thoughts.  3725
He is never likely to have a good thing cheap that is afraid to ask a price.
  Il n’aura jamais bon marché qui ne le demande pas.—Fr.
He is no great heir that inherits not his ancestors’ virtues.  3727
He is no man’s enemy but his own. CL.  3728
He is none of the Hastings.
  Spoken of a slow person. There is an equivoque in the word Hastings which is the name of a great family in Leicestershire, which were Earls of Huntingdon. They had a fair house at Ashby de la Zouch, now much ruined.—R. 1670.
He is not a merchant bare / that hath money’s worth or ware.  3730
He is not a wise man who cannot play the fool on occasion.  3731
He is not drunk gratis who pays his reason for his shot.  3732
He is not fit for riches who is afraid to use them.  3733
He is not fit to carry guts to a bear.  3734
He is not free that draws his chain. H.  3735
He is not good himself who speaks well of everybody alike.  3736
He is not laughed at that laughs at himself first.  3737
He is not poor that hath little, but he that desireth much. H.  3738
He is on the ground.  3739
He is on the high ropes.
  i.e., conceited and insolent.—R.
He is one-and-thirty.  3741
He is one that will not lose his cap in a crowd.  3742
He is only fit for Ruffians’ hall.
  West Smithfield (now the horse-market) was formerly called (says the Continuer of Stowe’s Annals) Ruffians’-hall, where ruffians met casually, and otherwise, to try the masteries with sword and buckler. Fuller remarks that a ruffian is the same with a swaggerer; so called, because endeavouring to make that side to swag or weigh down whereon he engageth.—R. 1670.
He is paced like an alderman.  3744
He is pleased with gourds, and his wife with cucumbers.
  This may have a hidden meaning of a not very delicate nature.
He is ploughing a rock.  3746
He is poor indeed that can promise nothing.  3747
He is proper that hath proper conditions. C.  3748
He is put to bed with a shovel.  3749
He is quite beside the book.
  Mightily mistaken.—Walker’s Parœm., 1672, p. 31.
He is ready to leap over nine hedges.  3751
He is rich enough that wants nothing. H.  3752
He is rich that is satisfied.  3753
He is run off his legs.  3754
He is sillier than a crab, that has all his brains in his belly.  3755
He is so hungry that he could eat a horse behind the saddle.  3756
He is so suspicious that he can’t be got at without a stalking-horse.  3757
He is so wary that he sleeps like a hare with his eyes open.  3758
He is sowing on the sand.  3759
He is teaching a pig to play on a flute.  3760
He is teaching an old woman to dance.  3761
He is teaching iron to swim.  3762
He is the best gentleman that is the son of his own deserts.  3763
He is the son of a bachelor.
  i.e., a bastard.—R.
He is the wretch that does the injury, not he that endures it.  3765
He is top-heavy.  3766
He is up to snuff.  3767
He is wise enough that can keep himself warm.  3768
He is wise that hath wit enough for his own affairs.  3769
He is wise that is ware in time.  3770
He keeps his road well enough who gets rid of bad company.  3771
He kills a man that saves not his life when he can.  3772
He knocks boldly at the gate,
that brings good news in thereat. W.
He knoweth enough that knoweth nothing, if so be he know how to hold his peace. B. OF M. R.  3774
He knows best what good is that has endured evil.  3775
He knows how many blue beans go to make five.
  Said of a shrewd, calculating person. Saber cuantas son cinco.—Span.
He knows how to carry the dead cock home. Derbyshire.
  Said of any one who bears defeat bravely. A correspondent of Notes and Queries says:—I never hear this saying now, but can remember when it was in common use in the Derbyshire village where I was born. It was said of lads and men who, when defeated in any of the games, trials of strength, or fights, knew how to bear defeat manfully. If loss or defeat was sustained bravely, some one would out with the expression, “He knows how to carry the dead cock home!” Many will at once surmise, and rightly, that this saying was the outcome of the pastime of cook-fighting, once the highest and most exciting of amusements among the labouring men and lads, especially at Shrovetide, but also on other occasions when time could be spared for the sport. One village champion cock would be pitted against that of another, money and reputation being staked.
He knows not whether his shoes go awry.  3778
He knows nothing about Diss. Cambr.
  The late Mr. C. H. Cooper (N. and Q., 1st S., vi. 303) thought that this saying originated in the M. of A.’s Disses, i.e., Disputations, and had no topographical bearing.
He knows one point more than the devil. HE.  3780
He knows on which side his bread is buttered.  3781
He knows tin. Cornw.  3782
He laid his legs on his neck.
  i.e., As we should say, He took to his heels. Tarlton’s Jests, 1638 (Old English Jest-Books, ii. 248).
He laugheth that winneth. HE.  3784
He laughs ill that laughs himself to death.  3785
He leaps into a deep river to avoid a shallow brook.  3786
He leaps like a Belle giant or devil of Mount Sorrel. Leicestershire.
  “In the neighbourhood of Mountsorrel,” says Peck, “the country people have a story of a giant or devil, named Bell, who once, in a merry vein, took three prodigious leaps, which they thus describe: At a place, thence ever after called Mountsorrel, he mounted the sorrel horse, and leaped a mile, to a place, from it since named Oneleap, now corrupted to Wanlip: thence he leaped another mile, to a village called Burst-all, from the bursting of both himself, his girths, and his horse: the third leap was also a mile; but the violence of the exertion and shock killed him, and he was there buried; and the place has ever since been denominated Bell’s Grave, or Bell-grave;” intending thereby to ridicule those who deal in the marvellous; or, in other words, draw the long bow.—R.
He lies as fast as a horse can trot.  3788
He lieth by the wall. S. Devon.
  i.e., He is dead.
He lighted upon a lime twig.  3790
He lives long that lives till all are weary of him.  3791
He lives longest that is awake most hours.  3792
He lives under the sign of the cat’s foot.
  He is henpecked: his wife scratches him.—R.
He lives unsafely that looks too near on things. H.  3794
He liveth long that liveth well.  3795
He loathes the spring-head, and drinks the foul stream.  3796


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